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Coffee: Devil or Savior?

February 15, 2019

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It’s been a weird week, with stomach bugs and a lack of caffeine since I started this liver cleanse. Even though I quit drinking coffee on a daily basis last September, I didn’t realize how much I was still relying on the caffeine in the teas I was drinking. It’s not as much caffeine as coffee, but man, I’m definitely missing it this week! I don’t have trouble waking up in the mornings like I used to, but have just felt a general sense of tiredness all day. I’m sure it didn’t help that I’ve had two nights of being up in the middle of the night cleaning up puke, but I’m really hoping my energy levels back up soon, because I was feeling really good!

herbal-tea-turmeric-latte

Now, I’m not one to hate on coffee, especially because I love it. BUT, it is something that can be a problem if you are struggling with any of the following:

  • Difficulty falling and staying asleep
  • Anxiety or restlessness
  • Lack of energy, especially upon waking and after lunch
  • Irritable Bowl Syndrome

While coffee does have some beneficial antioxidant properties, the caffeine content is what can get our systems out of balance. Caffeine can raise cortisol, our main stress hormone. Temporary cortisol increases are beneficial and necessary to deal with emergencies, but prolonged high cortisol levels mean your body is stuck in “fight or flight” mode rather than “rest and digest” mode, and this can wreak havoc on your hormones, digestion, and immune system.

If you think coffee could be an issue for you but are overwhelmed at the thought of quitting, I highly recommend switching to hot tea (black or green) or matcha tea. Tea is also high in antioxidants, but is much gentler in your gut (some even promotes healing) and contains L-Theanine, an amino acid that has a calming affect. I’ve been enjoying this matcha since it also contains other beneficial herbs and mushrooms to help with energy balance. Since teas tend to have less caffeine than coffee, you can taper and lessen the withdrawal symptoms.

If it’s the coffee taste you can’t live without, start blending your favorite java half and half with a high quality caffeine free coffee, that way you can maintain the flavor with less of a caffeine hit. Additionally, there are some new mushroom-based coffees out that blend one or more beneficial mushrooms with coffee. Mushrooms have long been considered superfoods by ancient cultures, and are gaining popularity in the west for their mood-boosting properties. They are less acidic and earthier than regular coffee, and other than the price tag, I find them very enjoyable. I like to have it as a treat, so a couple more weeks of this caffeine-free liver cleanse diet and I’ll be reaching for one!

Ultimately coffee can be almost like a religion for many people, and I get it. I still fantasize about it. But if it is like a religion and the thought of not having it sparks a deep, passionate outrage in your soul, and you’re struggling with sleep and energy and stress in your daily life, then you might need to distance yourself from it more than you know. There is a freedom in being able to wake up refreshed and able to function without that warm, tasty cup. And it’s empowering to not be dependent on a chemical to get your day started. I’m not all the way on the other side of it, but I’ve already experienced significant changes in my sleep, anxiety, and morning energy level just from reducing the caffeine intake, so I can’t wait to see what a few weeks cold turkey will do!

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